Demi Lovato certainly could have taken the route that many celebrities do after a trip to rehab: she could have hunkered down, preemptively informed the media that she wouldn't entertain any treatment-related questions, and quietly relegated that part of her life to a brief paragraph in her Wikipedia profile.
Instead, Lovato's been unflinchingly brave and open about her struggles. Instead of keeping it a secret, she told the public that her treatment was for bulimia and self-injury, and she joined forces with Seventeen magazine to talk to young girls about "the pressure to be perfect."
In a brutally honest MTV special titled Demi Lovato: Stay Strong that airs tonight, Lovato continues to tell it like it is—even going so far as to confess that she sometimes doesn't think she can beat her own demons.
As you may remember, Lovato was touring with the Jonas Brothers in 2010 when she left to enter a treatment facility (for what was described at the time as "physical and emotional issues"). Rumors flew that a violent altercation with a back-up dancer triggered the rehab stint, and Lovato later said that she deeply regretted the incident:
Lashing out was my cry for help. Wow, who was I to do that? I’m very ashamed. I wasn’t in the right state of mind at all.
Her parents and manager convinced her to get help in October of 2010, and she underwent nearly three months of inpatient treatment.
In tonight's MTV special, Lovato is shockingly honest about the challenges she continues to face:
There’s days where you’re going to struggle. I cannot tell you that I have not thrown up since treatment. I cannot tell you I’ve not cut myself since treatment. I’m not perfect. This is a daily battle that I will face for the rest of my life. (...) I don’t think I’m fixed. People think you’re like a car in the body shop. You go in, they fix you, and you’re out like brand-new. It doesn’t work like that. It takes constant fixing.
I've long been impressed by Lovato's choice to help other young people by publicly addressing her mental health issues, but I think I'm even more blown away that she continues to talk about her recovery. This is a pretty big deal for a young celebrity, after all—being up front about the fact that she isn't "fixed" could potentially cause problems for her career. She might get passed over for a film role because producers view her as a risk, or miss out on sponsorships because she no longer represents the squeaky clean innocent Disney star she once was.
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The fact that she's willing to talk about her personal life means that she truly believes she can make a difference in others by doing so, and I think that makes her a pretty amazing young woman. I also think it means she's got a better shot at staying healthy, and I'm certainly pulling for her.
Are you impressed by Demi Lovato's openness, or do you think she should keep things to herself for the sake of her career?
Image via MTV